Amas Musical Theatre to Honor Sheryl Lee Ralph at 54th Annual Gala Benefit Concert on May 15, 2023
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 03:00 pm EST 01/20/23





MONDAY, MAY 15, 2023

New York, NY – Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer), New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, will celebrate its 54th Anniversary at its annual Gala Benefit Concert on Monday, May 15, 2023 at Theatre 555 (555 West 42nd Street - NYC) with a post-concert reception at Penthouse 45 (432 West 45th Street). For more information, please visit www.amasmusical.org .

The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne toast. At 7:00pm the show begins with a performance by teenagers from The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy followed by a concert performance of Oh! Henry! The Music of Henry Krieger , directed by Bill Russell (Side Show, Lucky Duck). A cast of Broadway luminaries will perform songs from such shows as The Tap Dance Kid, Lucky Duck, Kept, Side Show, Up in the Air and Dreamgirls.

The evening will culminate with the presentation of the 2023 "Rosie" Award to Honoree Award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph (Dreamgirls, "Abbott Elementary").

"The Rosie Award is given every year to outstanding individuals who are leaders in their fields. Our Honorees exemplify the spirit of Rosetta LeNoire, not only because of their extraordinary accomplishments and dedication in bringing our world more closely together, but because they help show the way to others who would follow. We are very proud to be honoring Sheryl Lee Ralph" says Donna Trinkoff, Amas Artistic Producer. Past recipients of the "Rosie" Award include Maurice Hines, Phylicia Rashad, Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Priscilla Lopez, Lillias White, Norm Lewis, Hinton Battle, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and Leslie Uggams .

The evening will benefit Amas Musical Theatre's education programs.

Tickets are $500 and $250 plus a limited number of show-only $175 seats are available and can be purchased online at www.amasmusical.org, or by calling (212) 563-2565. More information is at www.amasmusical.org.

Since 1968, Amas has been a force in New York City, developing and producing new American musicals, a pioneer in non-traditional casting and multiculturalism, and a forerunner of theatre arts education for underserved young people.

Amas Musical Theatre was the inspiration of a pioneering figure in the American theatre, Rosetta LeNoire (1911-2002), an African-American actress who began her career as a child performer "planted" in audiences by her godfather, the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Rosetta founded Amas (Latin for "you love"), a non-profit performing arts organization, to combat racism, proclaiming "We are all flowers in God's glorious bouquet, every one of us, every color!"

From the beginning, Amas has sought to bring together people of all backgrounds, colors, and ethnic origin through musical theatre, and education programs have always been integral to the mission. Amas became the first voice of multiculturalism in theatre, and America's founding exponent of diversity, long before the term became a corporate mantra. Rosetta insisted on multi-ethnic casting in every show she produced and, in a few seasons, Amas emerged as an influential new force in the theatre, especially after she conceived the groundbreaking Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1973, which became a Broadway and touring sensation.

In 1999, President Clinton awarded the National Medal of Arts to Rosetta as "an individual deserving of special recognition by reason of her outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States." Actors' Equity Association acknowledges Rosetta and Amas' contribution to the American theatre by annually bestowing the Rosetta LeNoire Award ("The Rosie Award") on producers and theatre companies who exemplify her commitment to multicultural production and casting. Following in Rosie's footsteps, for the past 25 years, artistic producer Donna Trinkoff has continued to engrave the unique Amas trademark with musical theatre works that embrace different cultural perspectives while reaching out to underserved audiences.

Countless dramatists, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers and actors have graced Amas stages over the past 54 years, including Maya Angelou, Micki Grant, Galt McDermott, Sheldon Epps, John Rando, Tom O'Horgan, Ossie Davis, Billie Allen, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Andre deShields, Leslie Uggams, Phylicia Rashad, Brad Oscar and Christopher Jackson. The contributions of these alumni, as well as the dedication of the talented roster of early career artists, speaks to the unique and important work of Amas – a laboratory for artists who share its vision of cultural equity and tell timeless stories that resonate deeply.

"We are enormously proud of our rich legacy over the past fifty plus years" says Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer. "We will continue to honor Rosie's vision as we look to the next 50 years."


Sheryl Lee Ralph (Honoree) From bringing characters to life on screen, performing on Broadway, producing, landing the title of national bestselling author with her literary debut, and her deep rooted philanthropic endeavors which touch lives across the world, Emmy Winner, Golden Globe nominee, Critics Choice nominee, Tony Award nominee, NAACP Image Award nominee and Independent Spirit Award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph has become a staple in the entertainment industry, with an acclaimed career spanning over three decades.

Sheryl can currently be seen starring on ABC's smash hit, comedy series "Abbott Elementary" opposite Quinta Brunson. In this laugh out loud workplace comedy, "Abbott Elementary" follows a group of teachers brought together in a Philadelphia public school simply because they love teaching. They rely on one another to make it through the day, and find a way to counteract the school district's indifferent attitude toward educating children. Sheryl shines as Barbara, a longtime and respected teacher. Season one of "Abbott" debuted to critical acclaim and rave reviews; with media calling it "charming and insightful" (The Atlantic), "the next great network sitcom" (The Hollywood Reporter), "a smart conceit, sharp writing, the right cast..." (Entertainment Weekly), and "should be everyone's new comedic obsession" (IndieWire), to name a few. In summer 2022, the show earned a total of seven Emmy nominations from the Television Academy for its freshman season, including "Outstanding Comedy Series," with Sheryl winning "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series." She also landed the Golden Globe nomination for "Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Musical-Comedy Or Drama Television Series," the Critics Choice nomination for "Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series," the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards nomination for "Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series," the Hollywood Critics Association Award nomination for "Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Comedy," for her work on the show. "Abbott Elementary" debuted season 2 on September 21, 2022, on ABC.

Additional credits for Sheryl include starring in over 100 episodes of "Moesha" opposite Grammy Award winner Brandy, a lead role opposite Tia Mowry in three seasons of Nickelodeon's hit series "Instant Mom," starring opposite Jon Voight in "Ray Donovan" for Showtime, and appearances on "Barbershop," "ER," "It's a Living," "New Attitude," "George," "Designing Women," "Two Broke Girls," "Smash," "Criminal Minds," "MacGyver," "One Mississippi," and "Claws." Sheryl is currently recurring as President Kelly Wade, on Freeform's supernatural drama series "Motherland."

On the big screen Sheryl has worked with some of Hollywood's leading and award-winning men with credits that include The Mighty Quinn opposite Denzel Washington, Mistress with Robert de Niro, To Sleep with Anger with Danny Glover and The Distinguished Gentlemen with Eddie Murphy. She also appeared opposite Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act II. Sheryl picked up a win for "Best Supporting Actress" at the Independent Spirit Awards for her performance in To Sleep with Anger.

Finding success in writing and directing, Sheryl's award-winning short film, Secrets, co-starring award-winning actress Alfre Woodard and Robin Givens was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime's Filmmaker Award Series, and the BET Filmmaker Award Competition. The film was also selected as the audience favorite at the Outfest Film Festival. Secrets was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Hollywood Film Festival, the Acapulco Film Festival and the Urban World Film Festival. Sheryl is also the creator of the Jamerican Film and Music Festival. Most recently, Sheryl completed four back to back movies;Just Getting Started opposite Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rene Russo, Christmas at Holly Lodge for Hallmark, Netflix's "Step Sisters" with Naturi Naughton produced by Lena Waithe, and "No Sleep Til Christmas" for Freeform.

In theatre, Sheryl is well known for her award winning work, creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical Dreamgirls which earned her Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Sheryl most recently appeared on Broadway as Madame Horrible in Wicked, becoming the first African-American actress to take on the classic role. She also holds the title of producer on Broadway's Thoughts of a Colored Man at The John Golden Theatre (October 2021-March 2022) which explores a single day in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn, as seven Black men discover the extraordinary together. Additional Broadway credits include: the Tony-award winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, and reuniting with Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday for a sold out, one-night-only, Dreamgirls reunion celebrating the 35th anniversary.

As a writer, Sheryl's debut book "Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl" (Simon & Schuster) instantly became a national bestselling title, and gave readers a personal look into her triumphs and tribulations over the years, navigating life with courage, wit, and strength.

While working in front of the camera keeps Sheryl busy, she is also a passionate health advocate and honored AIDS activist. Sheryl is the founding director of the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation 501(C)3 which she created in memory of the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS. She also created the critically acclaimed Divas Simply Singing!, an evening of song and entertainment that is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the country. Sheryl was awarded the first Red Ribbon Award at the UN for her unique use of the arts in HIV/AIDS activism, and was recently appointed as an AIDS Ambassador for Jamaica's Ministry of Health.

Sheryl is a mother of two with a blended family of four, and loves every moment of motherhood and marriage. She is happily married to State Senator Vincent Hughes of Pennsylvania.

Henry Krieger ( Composer) began composing for Off-Off Broadway productions (and television's "Captain Kangaroo"!) in his twenties. That led to his meeting playwright-lyricist Tom Eyen. Together with director-choreographer Michael Bennett, they created the long-running Broadway hit musical Dreamgirls. Opening at the end of 1981, that show won six Tony Awards and Mr. Krieger was nominated for his now legendary music for which went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. The song "And I'm Tellin' You I'm Not Going" is one of Broadway's most iconic show-stoppers and has become a standard. Dreamgirls was shortly followed on Broadway by The Tap Dance Kid, (1983) which had a healthy run, closing on the same day as Dreamgirls, which ran for nearly four years. A subsequent tour of the latter ended with a Broadway revival in 1987. Side Show (1997), which Mr. Krieger created with director, Robert Longbottom and book writer and lyricist, Bill Russell, garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Score and Best Musical. Dreamgirls generated new success with new audiences as a Dreamworks film directed by Bill Condon in 2006. Mr. Krieger received three Academy Award nominations and won the Grammy Award for the song "Love You, I Do." The film won two Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Hudson. In 2014, Mr. Condon went on to direct the acclaimed Broadway revival of Side Show. In 2016, Dreamgirls enjoyed its West End premiere, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. That production won two Olivier Awards, including Amber Riley as Best Actress in a Musical. Other musical theater credits include Romantic Poetry, Radio Girl, Lucky Duck, Kept, Up in the Air and I'll Take It, produced by Amas Musical Theatre.

Bill Russell (Director ) has written book and lyrics for four musicals with Henry Krieger – Side Show, Lucky Duck (co-author of book with Jeffrey Hatcher), Kept and Up in the Air. They received a Tony nomination for Best Score for Side Show, which was also nominated for Best Musical, Best Book and a historical combined nomination for Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley for Best Actress in a Musical as the conjoined Hilton Sisters. That show received a critically acclaimed Broadway revival directed by Oscar winner Bill Condon. They received the Backstage West Garland Award for the score of Lucky Duck at Theatreworks. Mr. Russell is an internationally produced author and director of musicals. He penned book and lyrics for Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens and has directed it frequently in America as well as the Fringe and West End of London. Pageant (co-author, book and lyrics) ran for a year off-Broadway, was revived there in 2014 and Mr. Russell directed productions around the country and in the Fringe and West End of London. Other off-Broadway book and lyric credits include Unexpected Joy (also London), The Last Smoker in America, Fourtune and The Texas Chainsaw Musical. He received Honorary Doctorates from the Boston Conservatory and Morningside College and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2016. Much more at www.billrusssell.net .

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) now in its 54th year of continuous operation is New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, including Romeo & Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona & Brooklyn, Broadway and the Bard, starring Len Cariou and Red Eye of Love, which was awarded the Joseph A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography. Its production of The Other Josh Cohen received six 2013 Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Musical, a 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, and a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best New Musical. Other shows that Amas has developed include A Taste of Chocolate, Triassic Parq, The Countess of Storyville, Distant Thunder, Marry Harry, Me and Miss Monroe, Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda's World, Shout! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, From My Hometown, Zanna, Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.

Link http://www.amasmusical.org

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